Tami Charles, Author
Jacqueline Alcántara, Illustrator
Candlewick Press, Fiction, Dec. 10, 2019
Suitable for Ages: 4-8
Themes: Haitians, New Years Day, Family Recipe, Traditions, History, Freedom
Opening: “Today is New Years Day. This year, I get to help make Freedom Soup. Ti Gran says I’ve got a heart made for cooking, and its time I learn how.”
Every year, Haitians all over the world ring in the New Year by eating Freedom Soup, a tration dating back to the Haitian Revolution. The year, Ti Gran is teaching Belle how to make the soup. Just as she was taught when she was a little girl. Together, the dance and clap as they prepare the holiday feast.
“Know why they call it Freedom Soup?” Ti Gran asks. She then tells Belle about the history of the soup, the history of Belle’s family, and the history of Haiti, where Belle’s family is from and the passing down of traditions from one generation to the next.
Why I like this book:
Tami Charles’ lively holiday Haitian tale is a celebration of family, culture, traditions, and community. Just look at that gorgeous cover! Dance your way across this joyful story with Ti Gran, whose feet tap-tap to the kompa beat as she shows her granddaughter how to mash herbs, peel the cooked pumpkin, chop the vegetables and brown the meat for their special soup.
Reader’s will learn about a Haiti, a faraway country where Ti Gran was born. Her descemdents were slaves working in sugarcane and coffee fields until they fought and won their freedom from the French in 1803.
Make sure you read the “Author’s Note” at the end. Tami Charles’ shares her family’s story with readers and more detailed history about abolishment of slavery in Haiti and Haitian Independence Day.
Jacqueline Alcántara’s bold and colorful illustrations make this vibrant story sing from Ti Gran’s soup kitchen to the revolutionary scenes. They also capture the spirit of the Haitian community. The beautiful collaboration between the author and illustrator, makes Freedom Soup a perfect multiculture choice for holiday collections.
Personal Note: I was thrilled to review this beautiful and upbeat Haitian story. Haiti is special to our family because our daughter went on two medical mission trips to Haiti and introduced us to this beautiful country that is filled with so much soul. We sponsored Haitian children for years so they could attend school. It is also a poor country that has suffered many natural disasters in recent years.
Resources: Make the recipe for Freedom Soup, which is printed at the end of the book along with an Author’s note. Make sure you read the “Author’s Note” at the end. Charles’ shares her family’s story with readers and more detailed history about abolishment of slavery in Haiti and Haitian Independence Day.
Tami Charles is the author of numerous books for children, including her fiction debut, Like Vanessa. During an appearance on Good Morning America, she featured a Thanksgiving version of Freedom Soup, which she first learned to make from her husband’s ti gran. Tami Charles lives in New Jersey.
*Review copy provided by the publisher.